The Like button is getting some friends soon.
Facebook is rolling out a full line of “Reactions” to the public in the coming weeks, according to a Bloomberg profile of the company’s chief product officer Chris Cox.
The program has been in testing since October. Facebook has been letting users do more than just like; they can now add a range of reactions: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Yay was also tested, but won’t make the final release since it’s as easy to understand around the world.
Today we’re launching a pilot test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun. Starting today Ireland and Spain can start loving, wow-ing, or expressing sympathy to posts on Facebook by hovering or long-pressing the Like button wherever they see it. We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon.
Posted by Chris Cox on Thursday, October 8, 2015
The new reactions are coming “soon” and won’t replace the Like. Instead, users will be able to press and hold the Like button to see other options, which will show up as a tally under posts just as shares, comments and Likes do now.
In addition to outlining the new reactions, the Cox profile also delves into the history of the original reaction: the Like.
That one button, which is now entwined with Facebook’s identity and has been copied by its competitors, caused a lot of internal stress when first introduced. The team that created it wondered whether it would erode the desire to comment, whether to make Likes public or private and even if the Like would disappear after just a few months.
But now, not only does it let users quickly show appreciation for posts without thinking up something new to say, but it also serves as a vital tool for Facebook’s booming ad business. Every time you Like something, Facebook adjusts the ads you see, making the whole News Feed experience a little smoother.
The profile doesn’t go into how reactions will change your news feed. Facebook will definitely use it to target better ads at you, but your friends will also be more likely to interact with what you post, even if it’s not the most “Like-able” content around.